I have a friend who is Japanese and has a UK Working Holiday Visa which expires the next 14th March.

The first question I have is, does my friend need to leave the UK on the 14th of March, or can he do it later without any penalty?

And the other question is, from the moment he leaves UK, how many days he needs to stay outside the country in order to be able to re-enter again without any visa?

As far as I know, Japanese citizens can enter the UK without any visa (just their passport) and stay there for up to 6 months. So, my idea was that he could leave the country on the 14th March and then come back to stay for 6 months more.

Is that possible?

  • 2
    What evidence does your friend have of ties to Japan (or other country of residence) that ensure he must leave at the end of the proposed stay? A working holiday followed soon after by a six month stay puts home ties in doubt. Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 13:20
  • We just guessed that given the working holiday visa allows you to stay for 2 years, he should leave the country at the end of that allowance. We don't know if that's right or not. Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 13:26
  • Spending a long time in the UK using a succession of visas or visa free entry periods will look like an attempt to establish residence, which therefore would likely get rejected. If your friend wants to remain in the UK, perhaps look for a job that would qualify them for a work visa?
    – user16259
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 14:00
  • @user16259 , thanks for the advice, although that doesn't ask my question. I guess that's why you added it as a comment rather than an answer :-) Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 14:10
  • Indeed. I'm not certain of the legal position but my assumption is that the period they have already been here counts as if it were a visa free entry, with the permission to work being an add on. Trying to spend more than 6 months in UK in any rolling 12 month period will likely get rejected, including being refused entry at the border. Your friend could try applying for entry clearance from Japan, giving them the opportunity to explain their intent and get a definitive answer from the UK authorities.
    – user16259
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


A Tier 5 (Your Mobility Scheme) visa cannot be extended, so your friend's permission to remain in the UK will expire on March 14. If he overstays for a few weeks it is unlikely that it will have any immediate consequences (as in, police won't round him up and remove him by force, and he won't be fined when he eventually laves) -- but it will make it much harder for him to be allowed into the UK at a later time.

Being a non-visa national doesn't mean that he automatically has the right to stay in the country -- merely that he gets to apply for "leave to enter" as a visitor at the border rather than in advance at a UK consulate. He cannot make such an application while inside the UK, so the legal minimum he'll need to do is to channel hop.

However, then he will need to convince the Immigration Officer at the border that he's a "genuine visitor" rather than someone who is effectively living in the UK. This will be very hard to do if he tries to enter again immediately after a youth mobility visa expired, so there's a large risk that he will be denied entry.

There are no fixed rules for how long he needs to stay away -- the IO is allowed to believe his story and let him in even if he returns immediately; they just don't have to. Generally the longer he stays outside, the easier will it be to convince an IO that he's not attempting to live in the UK.

I would recommend being back in Japan for at least several months before trying to visit, unless he has a really good explanation for why he's returning as a temporary visitor so soon. "I want to hang out with my friends again" probably won't cut it; "a friend I made here is getting married" might.

  • 6
    To be clear, "a friend I made here is getting married" might be a good enough reason to make a brief visit to the UK shortly after the end of the Tier 5 visa, but it certainly wouldn't justify a 6-month visit. Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 16:13
  • @DavidRicherby: Indeed. Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 17:23
  • 1
    And since there's no guarantee that the OP has read other questions from people who've dug themselves catastrophic the IO assumes you're lying holes, if you use a reason that only makes sense in term of a short visit and instead of leaving after a few days decide to stay the whole 6mo max on the visa you'll have a really hard time getting a visa after that unless you can afford legal assistance to work the system for you. Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 19:41

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